CHOWING DOWN: NICOLAS
Nicolas is a chain of wine stores found throughout England, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and France. It's not Berry Brothers & Rudd in London but then that's not where most of us go to buy everyday or even occasional drinking wine. Nicolas is an average wine store selling decent vines. Some of their stores have a wine bar and restaurant attached to them. The menu is the same whether at lunch or dinner with about a dozen or so selections priced around 10e or less. I'm told the menu changes monthly. The one in the 12th is particularly pleasant located in a small outside pedestrian shopping area (M: Cour St Emilion, line 14). There's also one near where I'm staying in the 6th.
Over two visits I've tried a few dishes on their current menu. One evening during the height of the carnicule, a friend and I shared an assorted cold plate to start. It even came with a side of salad and was about all I had the appetite to eat given the heat. But we both followed this with chicken in a morel cream sauce served on rice. It was very good; my appetite would have appreciated it even more had it not been so hot that Sunday evening. We both agreed we'd had better Chablis than the bottle he had ordered. At Nicolas I think one can do just as well ordering whatever is available by the glass at a couple or few euros a pop.
The other night I returned for dinner with a classmate but at the Nicolas around the corner from me. No entree this time but my sliced smoked dust breast and duck confit on a bed of lentils left me very happy at about 10e. My friend had the gratin of vollaile, a baked dish in a cream base. I'm told vollaile is not necessarily chicken but that it could be any type of poultry. In any case she enjoyed it. Then I convinced her to have Tarte Tatin which she had never tried before. It was around 6e but a pretty poor version of one. I wish I would have known better and had skipped dessert altogether; to me no dessert is always better than a bad dessert. But all in all Nicolas is decent food at a decent price. You can get away with a single course lunch at 10-15e with either a glass of wine or a beverage. With table service that's a bon marche at lunch. It's even an acceptable place for dinner but the problem there is that there are so many more interesting restaurants to try in Paris but only so many meals in a day.
Coordinates: See www.nicolas.com for locations. No reservations.
Chai 24 Cour St Emilion 75012 tel 01.43.40.12.11. Open Mon through Sun 10h-22h
rue Clement local 34/35 75006 tel 01.43.26.28.44 (Not sure of their hours but assume they're the same at all locations)